No matter the size of your retreat group, there will be women that do not know each other.
Whether it’s because they attend a different service, a different Sunday school class, or came with a friend, they will need opportunities to make connections.
I have no doubt that your women are friendly and welcoming.
But it’s not worth waiting on your group of gals to bring them into the fold. Your weekend will pass by quickly!
We’ve got to be intentional. Using icebreakers provides opportunities for your women to make connections.
Icebreakers help women uncover similarities, differences, preferences, and dreams.
Your women will say and think things like:
Suzanne grew up a farm too? We’ll have to swap stories!
I had no idea that there’d be another women hear that loves to read historical fiction. I’ll have to ask which books she’s read.
Gloria has traveled to Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go! I need to be sure to ask her about her trip this weekend.
How might you want to incorporate icebreakers into your retreat?
- You may want to have a brief icebreaker at the beginning of every session. Doing so gets your women moving, talking, laughing, and bonding. It also helps break down walls before putting them into discussion groups.
- You may want to play several icebreakers together one evening. On a two-night retreat many groups will schedule “fun” time for one of the evenings. It is possible to overload your participants with too many teaching sessions. Dract is a great game for the whole group to play.
- You may want your discussion group leaders to start some (or every) group session with a quick icebreaker game or question.
- You can tweak icebreakers to fit your theme. We were all sheep for one of our icebreakers in September.
Work with your speaker and team to decide how much time and what you want the goal to be for that icebreaker time.
Your goal may be:
- Getting your women to work together as a team (Check out: Marooned)
- Revealing fun facts about one another (You may want to use: Meet Your Match)
- Connecting with as many other women as possible (Play: Women’s Ministry Bingo)
- Bonding the women in a discussion group (Use: A Few of My Favorite Things)
- Laughter (Try: The Great Candy Pass)
- Physical movement (Play: Four Corners)
Be careful not to rule out ideas that sound a little too childish. I share in my post about the Take Flight Icebreaker that I was really skeptical about how well that icebreaker was going to work, but it totally did!
Your women may roll their eyes at first. Push through, encourage them, and cheer them on. Most, if not all, of them will end up having fun!
Here’s a great example.
At our last retreat we broke into three groups and each group was given a beach ball. Our task was to bat the ball back and forth (without a double-hit) as many times as we could before it hit the floor. I could hit it once and then someone else had to hit it before I could hit it again. Once it hit the floor we had to start all over. The team that had the highest number of hits was the winner.
Some of you may be thinking that sounds like a game I played in elementary school…
Well, just let me tell you we had a very competitive group of women! They took the game very seriously. Our Icebreaker Leader was giving regular updates as to which group had the highest score and what that score was. None of us wanted to loose!! We laughed and played so hard some of us started to sweat!
Two last tips to share with you:
- Remember your women who have limited mobility. Have the group come to them when needed. If they are unable to participate, involve them in another way – have them keep score, cheer, take photos, etc.
- Keep it simple – the best and easiest way to break the ice is to have women answer the same icebreaker question in smaller groups. Something like “If money were no object, what would you choose to do?” Check out the IF Questions for some additional ideas.
Be sure to visit and pin my Icebreakers and Games page that lists all of the icebreakers on my site.
I’ve got lots of icebreaker ideas on my Pinterest board too.